All Beaches in Sint Maarten and Saint Martin
Wherever you stay, you’re never far from the water.
Does your perfect vacation involve soaking up the sun with your favorite book and taking a dip in pristine turquoise waters?
If the answer is a resounding yes, this guide to the best beaches in St Maarten & Saint Martin is exactly what you need right now.
The magical island, nestled in the Caribbean, is quickly shaping up to be a prime vacation destination. Interestingly though, it is shared between two countries. The north of the island, St. Martin, is governed by the French while the south, St. Maarten, is governed by the Netherlands.
In recent years, the glorious beaches, perpetual all-year sunshine, and vibrant nightlife have lured in throngs of tourists eager to experience the fabled waters and postcard-esque beaches.
Best Beach in St Maarten and St Martin:
BEST FOR SWIMMING: MULLET BAY BEACH
BEST FACILITIES: ORIENT BEACH
MOST BEAUTIFUL: LA BELLE CREOLE OR PINEL!
World Famous Maho Beach
Located southwest of the island, Maho Bay Beach has something not many beaches can boast of. Located adjacent to Princess Juliana International Airport, beachgoers are able to get up and close to the massive planes approaching the runway. A myriad of bars line the beach, offering views of the runway, and allowing you to watch the planes land while sipping on your favorite beverage. Or, hit the nearby shopping malls or roadside stalls – there’s plenty to do around here.
That’s hardly all of it. The island is surrounded by a coral reef so swimming and snorkeling opportunities are plenty abound. The reef sees a mesmerizing array of species that won’t disappoint.
Mullet Bay Beach
If you are looking for something quieter than Maho Beach, Mullet Bay Beach maybe exactly what they are looking for. Lush palm trees, undisturbed waters and white sanded beaches make this spot a particular favorite amongst locals.
Rolling surfs are another highlight here. Within paddling distance, the beach has plenty of surfer ready waves, making it well suited for newcomers as well as seasoned surfers. Unfortunately, the close proximity to the cruise terminal – about thirty minutes – attracts large crowds when ships dock so that maybe something you should consider before you visit.
Simpson Bay Beach
Simpson Bay Beach is as rustic as it comes. Although very close to the airport, it remains one of the most secluded spots on the island. Running for almost 2 kilometers around a lagoon, the secluded beach invites relaxation with calm waters and a backdrop of vibrantly colored fishing boats and the houses of a little village.
It is largely undeveloped so don’t expect much in the way of infrastructure. But, if you are looking for a lazy swim or just some beachside lounging, this is exactly where you should be. Just beware of the steep drop in the ocean bed and you should be fine.
This stunning stretch of beach hides a massive coral reef that offers avid swimmers and snorkelers’ hours of exploration. You’ll also find an array of popular watersport activities including windsurfing. But fear not as there’s plenty for the laidback folks. For starters, there are plenty of entertainment centers, restaurants and shopping stalls, selling everything from tropical t-shirts to souvenirs. Additionally, the beach is clothing optional and so is popular amongst some of the braver visitors.
Situated southeast, this beach is sometimes referred to as “Saint Tropez of the Caribbean” due to its frequent celebrity sightings and stunning natural beauty. Whether it is a night’s stay you are looking for or just unfiltered beach indulgence, you can’t go wrong with Orient Beach.
Roughly translating to Red Beach, this beach is known for its unique reddish sands. Sitting right in between two headlands, it is frequented by flocks of terns and gulls which is why the western end is called Birds’ Bluff, or Falaise des Oiseaux in the native language. The other end, known for its remarkable now-collapsed cave with two natural arches, is named Devil’s Hole, or Trou du Diable. Snorkeling is always an option at the collapsed cave but do be aware of the strong undertow.
As you walk towards the western region, clothing becomes increasingly an optional need but there are plenty of stalls selling clothing accessories and snorkeling equipment for rental.
Just south of the France and Dutch border, Dawn Beach stands out for two key reasons; one is the mesmerizing sunsets that gave the beach its name and secondly, the clear unpolluted waters that offer unparalleled snorkeling opportunities.
The Westin Dawn Beach Resort & Spa property dominates most of the beach and is the reason the shoreline sees a lot of foot traffic. The beach is free to access and the Westin parking lot is open to all visitors. However, even a higher-than-normal crowd doesn’t blemish the experience one bit, especially when it comes to the sunrises. However, do keep in mind that the waves at the beach can be quite rough on some occasions so swimming here is better left to seasoned swimmers.
Referred to as Anse des Pères by the locals, Friar’s is one of the few family-oriented beaches on the island. If you are looking for a break from the more scantily clad shores, do make a beeline here. The gentle shallow waves make it a great shoreline for some seaside fun with the children while the beach bars afford plenty of local flavors and beverages for you to relax.
The beach is between the towns of Marigot and Grand case – do be careful when navigating the bumpy snaking road down to the coastline. Another important factor to note is that the beach has no public bathroom so do plan ahead.
Little Bay Beach
Looking for some seaside indulgence not too far away? Little Bay Beach is a beach strip just a short walk away from the docks. You’ll find a wide selection of shops, restaurants and bars, but surprisingly, the beach doesn’t see too much traffic. The white sand on the beach is as clear as it is soft while the water remains constantly shallow with no abrupt drops.
Local hawkers sell you everything from refreshments to cold beer – don’t be afraid to bargain! Those of you craving an adrenaline rush can choose from a variety of watersports including snorkeling and jet skis. The infrastructure is much more developed than Friar’s Bay so you can expect more facilities.
Connecting the borders of the island’s two administrative halves, this beloved beach is set in the backdrop of ocean caves and sandstone cliffs. The unblemished sand offers the chance for sunbathing and simple relaxation while swimming is a popular activity when the seas are calm.
The beach is more of a local favorite so don’t expect much in the way of facilities. However, if you can bring your own food, this is the ideal spot for a seaside picnic!
As you move towards the French border, clothing becomes optional while the Western corner is a highlight amongst the LGBTQ community.
If you don’t mind a bit of an adventure, this secluded island is a magical getaway that’s well worth the journey. Accessible only by boat, shuttle services drop you at an uninhabited island for a couple of dollars where great sunbathing, snorkeling and swimming opportunities await you.
There are a few places that serve local cuisine and beverages while rentals offer equipment for watersports. Do note that given the island is located within a marine park, jet skis and fishing are prohibited. It’s increasing popularity is also attracting large crowds but if you can stay beyond 4.30 PM – when the last ferry leaves – you can enjoy the tranquility more.
More to follow
More on St Maarten’s and Saint Martin’s beaches coming soon.